Nudity and body waxing all in a day’s work
Mirror reporter Mary-jo Tohill got athletic legend Steve Gurney’s take on life while he was in Central Otago this week promoting his new book Eating Dirt . . . in a fun question and answer session.
Q: So what is it about you and dirt? A: I guess it’s ametaphor for my philosophy on life. The overarching message is that you learn from your mistakes and to do this, you have to eat dirt a few times, take a few risks and crash off your bike. At schools and in sport, we’re bubble-wrapping kids and they’re missing out on getting the experience of how to judge risk, so that they’ll know how to find their limits later in life. Q: What are your thoughts about death? A: I’m scared of it. Both my parents died of cancer. I nearly died of leptospirosis. While I was lying in hospital, and my organs weren’t functioning properly, and I thought, ‘this is not good, maybe I am going to die’, I realised you have to do things that really matter to you. Q: What’s it been like losing your home in Christchurch as a result of the earthquake? A: Challenging, upsetting to say the least. I’d worked hard to buy my house at Redcliffs. I based myself there to train, and it was great being able to just take my kayak down to the water, and as a result my kayaking was my strength. I mourn the loss of lifestyle, the view, the hills, being able to wander down and get a coffee. But it’s all about resilience. The loss of your house is a good lesson. Q: So what’s next on the list? A: Next year I’m making a kitebuggy attempt of Namibia’s Skeleton Coast. Q: When are you going to get a real job?! A: What I do is a real job! Q: What’s your philosophy about nudity? A: That time when I appeared naked on breakfast TV, it was the annual build up to the Coast to Coast, and we needed to change it up. It was cold up there on the Port Hills (above Christchurch) I tell you! Q: Speaking of nudity, how about you and waxing? A: While working on Dancing with the Stars, my partner told me that the female voting public don’t like hairy gorillas. Swimmer Danyon Loader said ‘don’t do it, it hurts!’ Eventually I went and had my body waxed, and actually it wasn’t too bad, at least not until I started getting ingrown hairs. Q: What’s your relationship like with lycra? A: Having to wear a skin-tight lycra ballroom dancing suit didn’t faze me a bit. A lifetime lived in lycra is a big motivator not to put on weight, because when I do, it doesn’t look too flash. We have a copy of Steve Gurney’s new book Eating Dirt to give away to a lucky reader. Email us at email@example.com with ‘‘Eating Dirt’’ in the subject line to go in to win. And if you missed Steve at Paper Plus Alexandra and Cromwell yesterday, there’s also a chance to catch up with him at the Edgewater Hotel, in Wanaka, tonight at 7pm. He will be doing a presentation on his new book alongside author Pat Barrett speaking on his new book Southern Lakes: Tracks and Trails. Tickets are $10 and available for Paper Plus.
Loss is Good: Athlete turned author Gurney reflects on what he has lost and gained through the Christchurch earthquakes.